There was a time when I thought cooking things like Chinese food was impossible to do in your own home. It was just one of those things that you had to get from a restaurant. Of course now that I live and breath food, I know better. So I thought it was about time that I challenge myself to making one of my favorite Chinese food meals- General Tso’s chicken.
I am not being completely truthful when I say that general tso’s chicken is my favorite chinese food…. I actually have been eating tofu and stir fry vegetables ever since I developed this weird relationships with meat. So when I made this for myself in my own kitchen, it was nice to be able to prepare the chicken myself. Knowing exactly how the chicken was trimmed made a HUGE difference in my willingness to eat it.
That being said, I was surprised at how good it was! I know I haven’t had general tso’s chicken in years, but I definitely remember the taste very well. This wasn’t spot on to what you would get at a Chinese restaurant, but it was much better than I thought it would be for this type of ethnic dish made at home. The taste of the sauce was a little different (still delicious), but that could be due to the fact that I had to use homemade hoisin sauce (couldn’t find it in Germany… go figure). But the texture of the fried chicken….OMG. Perfect! Exactly what you expect. The only thing that I might do different next time is cut the chicken up a bit smaller. The pieces ended up being bigger than I prefer after the fried layer was made.
So let me help you out by showing you how you can make your own Chinese food at home!
The first thing you want to do is cut up 1.5 lb chicken.
I would cut it smaller than shown here. But that’s a personal preference kind of thing.
Set it aside in a gallon sized plastic bag.
Make the sauce by whisking together the hoisin, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, and water.
Pour 6 Tb of the hoisin mixture into the plastic bag with chicken.
Let it marinate for 30 minutes.
Set the remaining mixture aside.
While the chicken is marinating start heating the frying oil and finish off the sauce.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes and saute for just 1 minute.
Add 2 cups of the hoisin sauce and set the remaining sauce aside for later.
Simmer, whisking constantly, until the sauce has thickened.
Cover and set aside.
Now it’s time to get ready to fry the chicken!!
Have paper towels to dry off chicken.
Egg whites in one dish and in the other-
cornstarch, flour, baking soda, and remaining hoisin marinade.
Mix until the mixture is nice and coarse. This is going to give your chicken texture : )
You also need a sheet pan lined with foil and a wire rack on top.
Set the sheet pan in an oven that is heated to 200 degrees F.
In batches, first dip the chicken in the egg whites.
Then roll around in the cornstarch mixture, pressing to adhere.
Set aside the dredged chicken on a plate. Get ready to start frying!
Fry in batches for about 3 minutes.
Transfer to the sheet pan and place back in the oven to keep warm while you fry the remaining chicken.
When all the chicken has been fried up, toss it in the sauce.
Stir it around to completely coat in this beautiful mixture.
Plate the General Tso’s up on top of some rice and maybe add some broccoli or snow peas.
But only if you want to try to make yourself feel better about the whole fried chicken slathered in sauce thing…
I even went as far as using brown rice.
But even if I had made this meal with white rice and no vegetables I probably wouldn’t have felt that bad.
It was just TOO good.
And see? It wasn’t hard making the impossible possible with homemade Chinese food!
- For the Chicken:
- ½ cup hoisin sauce
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1½ cups water
- 1½ pounds (about 4) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- ½ teaspoons red pepper flakes
- For Coating and Frying:
- 3 large egg whites
- 1½ cups cornstarch
- ½ cup unbleached all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 4 cups vegetable oil
- 1-2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
- In a large bowl, combine hoisin, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch and water in a bowl. Transfer 6 tablespoons of this mixture in a ziptop storage bag and add the chicken; refrigerate for 30 minutes. Set aside the remaining mixture.
- While the chicken is marinating, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Sauté the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 2 cups of the hoisin mixture and simmer, whisking constantly, until the mixture is dark brown and thickened. Remove from heat, cover.
- To prepare the chicken for coating and frying, in a shallow bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy; set aside.
- In a second shallow dish, combine the cornstarch, flour, baking soda, and remaining hoisin marinade; mix until it resembles coarse meal.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet; set aside. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat until the oil registers 350 degrees.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Toss half the chicken into the egg whites until well coated, then dredge the chicken in the cornstarch mixture, pressing to adhere. Transfer the coated chicken to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken.
- Fry half the chicken until golden brown, about 3 minutes, turning each piece halfway through cooking. Transfer chicken to prepared baking sheet and place in oven. Bring oil back to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining chicken pieces.
- Rewarm the sauce over medium heat until simmering add the fried chicken pieces, tossing to coat. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.
adapted from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen
Homemade Hoisin Sauce
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 2 teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
- 2 teaspoons sesame seed oil
- 1 teaspoon chinese hot sauce (more or less to taste)
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper